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I had long ago discovered that when a word or formula refused to come to mind the best thing for it was to think of something else: tigers for instance or oatmeal. Then when the fugitive word was least expecting it I would suddenly turn the full blaze of my attention back onto it catching the culprit in the beam of my mental torch before it could sneak off again into the darkness.
The mystics themselves do not seem to have believed their physical and mental sufferings to be a sign of grace, but it is unfortunate that it is precisely physical manifestations which appeal most to the religiosity of the mob. A woman might spend twenty years nursing lepers without having any notice taken of her, but let her once exhibit the stigmata or live for long periods on nothing but the Host and water, and in no time the crowd will be clamoring for her beatification.
One can't read a great deal of theology without appreciating the mental dexterity of its practitioners when faced with hard problems. And as a scientist, I regret how much more we'd understand about nature had that dexterity been applied to science instead, or to any field involved in studying what's real.
Libraries are reservoirs of strength, grace, and wit, reminders of order, calm, and continuity, lakes of mental energy, neither warm nor cold, light nor dark. The pleasure they give is steady, unorgastic, reliable, deep, and long-lasting. In any library in the world, I am at home, unselfconscious, still, and absorbed.
Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results … We understand this law in the natural world, and work with it; but few understand it in the mental and moral world—although its operation there is just as simple and undeviating— and they, therefore, do not cooperate with it.
Conversation injures more than it benefits. Men talk to escape from themselves, from sheer dread of silence. Reflection makes them uncomfortable, and they find distraction in a noise of words. They seek not the company of those who might enlighten and improve them, but that of whoever can divert and amuse them. Thus the intercourse which ought to be a chief means of education, is for the most part, the occasion of mental and moral enfeeblement.
Intensity is a mental attitude more than a physical attitude. Many people misunderstand what intensity means. They think it means straining and sweating. No! That is a wrong meaning of the word! Intensity is to get totally involved, fully immersed and absorbed in what one is doing. Intense practice means a fast and keen mode in adjusting, correcting, and progressively proceeding.
For as long as there been humans we have searched for our place in the cosmos. Where are we? Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a hum-drum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people. This perspective is a courageous continuation of our penchant for constructing and testing mental models of the skies; the Sun as a red-hot stone, the stars as a celestial flame, the Galaxy as the backbone of night.
An illness is a failure to solve a mental or psychological problem in the correct manner... The energy that would be used to solve the problem instead is spent maintaining the illness. It is therefore necessary that an attempt be made as soon as possible to solve the problem, which of course must first be discovered by the ego, which has avoided it.
Often God will send us what we need in a package we don't want. Why? To let us know He's God and we cannot second-guess Him. We cannot search for answers merely with our heads; we must seek Him and His provision with our hearts. Scripture cannot be interpreted from our limited human mental understanding. There must be a breath of the Spirit of God. He alone gives wise counsel and correct application.
It was during the first years [1906-1910] the we realized the presence of a dualism deep down within us, where another person, whom we ourselves do not know, tends, at the moment of the creative act, to supplant the person we believe ourselves to be and would like to be. It is difficult to bring these two individualities into accord, yet it is upon this accord that the development of a personality largely depends. My first contact with the art of Seurat whom I adopted, once and for all, as my master, did a great deal to help me to express myself in terms of the two simultaneous and often opposed aspirations. This opposition caused me much mental torture, I must admit..